Urban site planning for infrastructure and construction projects.

Our 3D project development services for integrated urban site planning in complex interfaces is a world-leading service in verifiability, agility, speed and assurance. Over 20 years we built a specific workflow and technology that converts clunky, slow, siloed, expensive ‘engineering-led’ site planning experience for clients into an agile, 3D, integrated, responsive, human-led approach to project planning.

Urban CGI Site Planning 10x RoI…

10x faster. 10x better integration. 10x assurance via simulations. 10x easier stakeholder engagement. 10x higher confidence

We are confident our urban site planning service is best and fastest you will find on the market. We have won many “challenges” by major Architectural and Engineering Consultants in alliances and also client internal “Digital Engineering” units who claim that ‘they can do it themselves’ – for example using Unreal and Autodesk Infraworks. Good luck.

If you are like the clients we talk to every day who suffer from expensive, slow, difficult site planning services across project development or construction – contact us for a call-back and quick chat.

Integrated, interactive live 3D urban site planning across highways, railways, infrastructure, assets and utilities for project development and construction.

Integrated interactive live 3D urban site planning options across highways, railways, infrastructure, assets and utilities for project development and construction.

 Design Planning methodology

  1. Plan Discovery – through workshops and research, understand the objectives, pain points, risks and goals of the project. This informs the level of detail in design, simulation and data by location needed. 
  2. Data Review – review the data available, GIS, BIM, off the shelf, feature survey, geo-position systems, asset libraries, twins, architectural, engineering, CAD, SAPs, schematics and other simulation, operational, design and survey inputs. 
  3. Base Plan – low resolution – build a whole site 3D geolocated interactive model to millimetre and centimetre accuracy adjacent and on the project site and key nearby sites (eg heritage and key points), with lower resolution (hence lower cost) away from important areas. This maybe a site LiDAR or photogrammetry scan, high resolution aerial, DEMs and TINs. 
  4. Options Planning – If you have proposals and options, we import or digitise these into 3D integrated solutions for your assessment.
  5. Planning Options setup – we do preliminary concept planning in preparation for workshops to provide adjustable parametric elements and key constraint information, template assets etc. 
  6. Planning Workshops – we facilitate workshops with you and your team to test and develop planning options live. We take notes and 3D mark-ups to annotate and leave an audit trail of options.
  7. Planning Resolution– we update and refine the 3D planning options, to prepare for the next round of planning workshops, often supplied 3D plans for feedback along the way.
  8. Planning Engagement – you send or present 3D plans and mark-ups to stakeholders to inform and engage to get buy-in and progress the solution. Planning start moving fast now for you.
  9. Planning Technical input – you may send 3D instructions to technical experts like engineers for detail element verification or checking (eg soils, structural elements).
  10. Collaboration Plan – we work collaboratively with you towards the draft plan options with 3D draft plans and iterate towards 3D final plans to the level of detail and polish required for the process.
  11. Simulation Plan – If required, we build smart simulations to test and save time into the planning and validation process. 
  12. Planning vision – we provide communications material for further planning engagement to your budget. 

Urban site planning master planning for Pakenham station precinct

Urban site planning masterplan for Pakenham station precinct

Unique Design Planning 

Founded after his PhD in planning on post-war urban infrastructure developments in the UK, Dr Ben Guy built a technology and a system to help clients to do better planning, faster and easier.

Dr Guy was comparing revered, integrated complex urban spaces like Oxford Circus with post-war ‘slum-clearance’ urban renewal and reconstruction programmes, which led to engineering and traffic functionality and social and urban ghettos. 

Our technology and our capability with our 20 years experience transforming pre-engineering planning

  1. Urban X Planner – an inhouse tool, now an industry standard across infrastructure master planning and construction site planning.
  2. Integrated master planning and engagement service – where planning and engagement are inseparable and intertwined – we facilitate processes to maximise your efficiency and quality.
  3. Human scale from day 1 – everything starts in the 3D context space at human scale in first and third person to ensure integration..
  4. 3D Live Planning workshops, direct with clients and stakeholders – in virtual and physical workshops to prevent ‘ivory tower’ offline planning and assumptions
  5. Parametric planning – custom smart tools with continuous R&D on new tools for faster planning and simulation in context – such as making 3D engineering alignments, clearances, hydrology, traffic and micro-sim.
  6. Live Optioneering to click and compare from any view and any experience optioneering in real-time.
  7. Behavioural and simulated Live Plan environment – allowing you to drive, walk, fly and experience every element at any moment under multiple options.
  8. Live Capture and Mark-up – reduce iterations and increase engagement by creating and capturing 3D mark-ups live.
  9. Collaborative planning – a solution to enable your planning, not the standard presumptive planning of big engineering.
  10. Live Plan Capture – record hundreds and thousands of accurate 3d plan images for documentation and presentations from the earliest moments.
  11. Data management – we provide a comprehensive advisory and data management, processing, controls, sourcing, export and management approach to facilitate planning.
  12. Planning experience – 20 years in business of planning and engagement across 100’s of billions of infrastructure, we have a lot of water under the bridge and knowledge in the space.

Site planning for project management in rail project in constrained alignments

Urban site planning and project management in rail project in constrained alignments

Integrated Design and Planning Requirements

Master planning for complex engineering infrastructure is traditionally a slow, expensive and clunky process using the traditional engineering methodology with unresponsive methods, consultants hard to control and too much detail in the wrong areas and endless 2D drawings out of context.

Some of the experiences of clients using the traditional master planning process are listed below.

Live, simulated, accurate urban site planning for temporary works in construction with Urban CGI interactive

Live, simulated, accurate urban site planning for temporary works in construction with Urban CGI interactive

  1. Planning collaboration can be difficult with traditional engineers working offline and providing CAD / PDF drawings as outputs incrementally in review sessions for comment as solutions.
  2. Technical debt levels are high with designs getting it wrong, rebuilds and reworks, poor human factors and usability, integration and liability risks around incidents and compliance. 
  3. Operational testing of plan options and elements can be difficult, or impossible, in 2D or static plans often leading to expensive difficulties and delays and unforeseen issues later.
  4. Customer experience testing can be difficult with no ability to walk, drive, cycle or experience the site and interfaces during development risking slower processes later and sub-optimal outcomes.
  5. Flexibility and agility and be difficult with a rigid engineering development approach suitable for detailed design post concept planning.
  6. Shared understanding and comprehension can be low with drawings that are difficult to understand – causing risk of errors and oversight. Decision makers and external stakeholders find it even more difficult to understand these schematics and abstract drawings. 
  7. Responsiveness is low, progress and feedback is slow with long response times to test and update concept designs through the planning stage. Meaningful feedback and comments from the client team or executive can be hard and slow to garner with overly technical plans. 
  8. Comparing options can be very difficult in traditional planning with the plan options visualised and interpreted in your head. This becomes increasingly complex with subtle and nuanced changes in complex contexts of organic shapes like roads and bridges
  9. Internal stakeholder engagement is difficult or expensive as 2D drawings are complex to explain and unsuitable for executive presentations. You write lengthy reports that don’t get read, or may have to move into a separate 3D imaging process, often creating a vicious cycle as issues and unforeseen consequences are uncovered in 3D. 
  10. Site integration can be low or hard to test with traditional 2D processes having poor verifiable integration across disciplines, constraints, human experience and sensitive landscape and operational contexts.
  11. Validation and verification across elements and interfaces to test integration across multiple is difficult and expensive with low ability to stress test and simulate all levels of the outcome across uses, locations, modalities and users in context.
  12. Site auditing in 3D at human scale is not available, often requiring on-site visits with safety risks, more time and inability to dynamically test under different environmental or operational conditions. For example customer experience in driving, accessibility or walking. You may have to rely on photos, memory and usually google maps or similar services. 
  13. Costs are high – both the direct costs of the engagement, then the costs of variations, and the indirect costs of management and administration, plus the well-being costs of managing difficult situations and stakeholders. 
  14. Presumptive design – technical experts can have a presumptive arrogance in their design solutions, while they provide 2D poorly contextualised plans with low or no interface management considerations and low or no consideration of human factors and customer experience. And then they charge high variations and give poor service. This can be infuriating for clients to work across the ‘big engineering cartel’. 
  15. Regulation stacking – the regulation and compliance driven approach to concept planning and master planning can result in a mediocre, poorly contextualised solution.
  16. Rabbit warrens – with detail overworked before context in the traditional process is often driven from micro-specifications, from the inside out, rather than contextualised from the outside in. Thus technical experts are known to ‘rabbit warren’ into expensive and lengthy considerations that should be shut down quickly as not appropriate to the context. 
  17. Stress-testing the master plan under high loads, environmental shocks or emergencies from fire to flood can be difficult and expensive, often leading to over-design or flying blind.
  18. Multi-use and multi-user testing across time and different operational modalities can be difficult in 2D or static 3D scenarios – increasing risk that the plan may suit one phase, but not others. 
  19. Over-design, over-engineering and output quality is a major issue in projects for a long time, leaving functional but poorly integrated solutions as is all too common. 
  20. Community management – can be difficult with high fear of change, fear of loss, especially where communities have seen other poor outcomes and have low levels of trust. This includes end result issues and ‘construction fatigue’ where multiple projects have occurred in the same location.
  21. External stakeholder management – managing expectations and having conversations with external stakeholders can be slow and difficult, with high expectations, low trust and low ability to read technical drawings. 
  22. Motherhood and apple-pie planning – managing stakeholders and experts with high level non-specific language such as ‘placemaking’ or ‘sustainable’ or ‘responsive’ and ‘nice’ can be difficult and frustrating for clients who want to talk in specifics about locations, measurable and exact interface management 

Urban site construction methods planning for crane installation construction methodology and engagement in Melbourne's City Square

Urban site planning for crane installation construction methodology and engagement in Melbourne’s City Square

The results of this process can take years with high costs, low levels of confidence, low collaboration and buy-in, high administration and management effort and difficult relationship management for clients. Impacts to reputation and brand can be high, as well as being an unpleasant process. 

For a planning manager, each new stakeholder and each new interface compounds planning complexity. Planning is both a social and physical science – combining engagement, negotiation, context, culture, environment and design across specialisations into an integrated shared vision. In complex projects, clients might need to manage hundreds of constraints, interfaces and stakeholders to create an elegant and contextually uplifting solution.

  • Interfaces include constraints, adjacent operations, neighbours, safety, access, solar and sightlines, wayfinding, signalling, user and operator experience, flooding, hydrology and utilities, functional outcomes, engineering compliance and more.
  • Stakeholders can include businesses, operators, operators, staff, neighbours, agencies, lobby groups, politicians, technical advisors, contractors, communities, regulators, clients, managers, executives and adjacent projects.

Without the right tools and technologies, processes and approach, then master planning can be painful and difficult for managers.

Our solution for integrated planning

We provide a live planning and engagement solution including technology, products and services.

A planning and engagement service offering high levels of 3D client development collaboration via live client 3D virtual workshops to review, plan, test, optioneer, comment and change options in 3D context.

A planning and engagement service that provide a live ability for  operations testing via live 3D simulations during the planning and optioneering stages in real-time virtual space. Simulations may include walkability, accessibility, operating vehicles, and cycling within changeable plans. The service includes facilitated engagement, integration, management and collaboration with operational staff.

A planning and engagement solution offering live and simulated 3D customer experience testing in context with simulated planning options available in first and third person in planning and engagement workshops to assure quality customer experience (CX) outcomes.

A planning and engagement solution with nimble, flexible and agile planning technology that allows dynamic changing, options testing, live scenario optioneering, alterations, and ideation live in 3D live master planning workshops to achieve faster outcomes.

A re-usable contextualised 3D planning model across the asset lifecycle to support planning, stakeholder engagement, operations and management. 

A master planning and engagement solution that offers unlimited 3D plan images and readily produce working 3D plan animations for use for internal stakeholder engagement explanations and consultation.

A planning and engagement solution with the ability to polish the 3D master planning model for media quality external fly-through visualisations as 3D renders or animations. Further extension into storytelling, storyboards and scripting for engagement media, including a communications advisory service, is valuable. 

A master planning model built on geo-referenced data including digital twin, BIM, CAD, GIS, survey and digital engineering models re-using current and developed digital assets. A verifiable, measurable and exchangeable data set including constraints such as utilities, safety and clearance volumes.

Master planning data that can be exported in a standard format (eg FBX, OBJ, DWG, DGN) including geo-positioning so it can be utilised for detailed design modelling and as specification for next stages of work. 

A planning level of accuracy and confidence to centimetre and if needed millimetre accuracy, dependant on inputs for concept design level through to functional design to support the detailed design. 

A physics-based planning simulation model allowing for geo-spatially accurate environment testing such as lighting, solar access and shadows, weather conditions, hydrology, plus movement simulations including walking, accessibility, cycling, driving, freight and train movements including acceleration and deceleration and behavioural inputs. 

A master planning and engagement model, technology and process including engineering based standards for agile concept design testing of alignments, gradients, clearances, curvatures, yields, volumes, cross-falls and distances to provide concept design verifiability defensible in audit processes.

A planning and engagement solution with the ability to plan, prove and test constructability and interface disruptions and analyse impacts on adjacent sites, neighbours and elements.

A planning and engagement solution with experienced master planning service expertise to provide advice on process, methodology, engagement, outputs and inputs . A solution including engagement and planning facilitation services to drive processes and add design value to options testing to build a functional master plans and concept plans efficiently and effectively. 

An extendable planning technology solution that allows for addition features and plugins to specific requirements for physics-based planning simulations as required across a wide array of elements.

Testimonial portrait for Urban CGI

“Planning that took a year with engineering co achieved low clarity and confidence, but now we have resolved it in a few weeks. Alignment options, interfaces and customer experience are now understood with great 3D plans to negotiate with stakeholders and make rapid progress for this critical infrastructure. The planning workshops are amazing and we invited a cast of dozens with great buy-in.”

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Planning Manager

Urban CGI planning timelines

A typical workflow for master planning projects post procurement is planning via sprints.

Human scale simulated live animated 3D view of changes in places for urban development planning

Human scale, accurate, simulated live animated 3D view of changes in places for urban site planning

Typically there are 4-6 sprint cycles for a modest precinct project, like a rail station and precinct. Thus a typical program is 6-10 weeks to develop the solution with typical 2-week sprints.

Programme lag is caused by client and third party availability for input feedback into the rich visual information. This is for the client to manage.

Each sprint cycle has updated 3d plans and models, and may include workshops for planning and/or engagement.

As a rule of thumb, work backwards from your “outcome” date by 2 months. Then add two weeks of resource booking, then add your procurement process timelines.

Our sector experience 

  • Rail and rail precinct master planning including upgrades, stations and alignments
  • Highway, motorway, street and road including light rail master planning
  • Property and development approvals master planning
  • Stadium and events master planning 
  • Campuses, estates and broad acre facility master planning

Testimonial portrait for Urban CGI

“They short-cut the concept stage from our engineering partners so we can consult early without paying huge fees or waiting a long time for a drawing to appear. They cut concept development times from months to days. We test and learn in an agile way across interfaces as we co-design options with our stakeholders. Really transformative.”

National Government Infrastructure Agency

Stakeholder Manager